First class graduates from program for adults bound for college

CHAMPAIGN – Shawnika Lucks of Urbana didn't know quite what to expect when she signed up last year for the Odyssey Project.

The Odyssey Project, in its first year in Champaign-Urbana, is a college-accredited course in the humanities offered at no cost to people in the Champaign-Urbana area living below 150 percent of the poverty level. Students attend class for two hours each evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an entire school year and get six hours of college credit.

Parkland greenhouse dedication scheduled for Tuesday

CHAMPAIGN – After Shandy Wilsey's most recent hospitalization, he was confined to a wheelchair and had some big questions about his future.

"I was scared," said Wilsey, 26, a Sidney resident who worked this week to get his "enabling" garden at the entrance to the new Prairie Gardens Plant Laboratory at Parkland College ready for the greenhouse dedication and open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Principal helps raise money by shaving head

OGDEN – As a swath of principal Jeff Isenhower's hair fluttered to the gym floor Friday afternoon, the collective-held breath of about 130 students at the Prairieview-Ogden South grade school building in Ogden came out in an excited burst.

Over the next few minutes, five students and one teacher took a swipe at Isenhower's head with electric clippers, leaving him with a barely-there buzz cut.

New faces, incumbents take seats on Rantoul City School board

RANTOUL – Two new Rantoul City School board members and two incumbents were seated at a special meeting Thursday night.

John Brotherton, a retired school teacher and top vote-getter in the recent election, and Teresa Turner, mother of two in the district, will serve four-year terms.

Thomasboro school board seeking applicants for vacant position

THOMASBORO – Deb Simmons has resigned her seat on the Thomasboro school board after serving for 5 1/2 years. She is moving to St. Joseph.

The school board must fill the board seat within 45 days and has begun seeking applicants for the position. The appointment will run for two years until April 2009 – the date of the next school election.

New Urbana school board officers, principals seated

URBANA – At times, it looked like a game of musical chairs at Tuesday night's Urbana school board meeting.

In about an hour-and-a-half, the board said goodbye to an old member, hello to a new member, elected new officers and approved two new elementary school principals.

Meeting to focus on redevelopment of Orchard Downs

The University of Illinois invites people to the Beckman Institute on Wednesday evening for an open house about the redevelopment of Orchard Downs.

Developers will present their plans to the public from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the institute's auditorium, 405 N. Mathews Ave., U. Each developer candidate will show and discuss plans, then members of the audience may ask questions.

Parkland gives aid to 3 minority students if they return to teach

CHAMPAIGN Antwanette Newton signed up for classes at Parkland College to learn how to use e-mail.

But her experience there launched her in a new career direction.

Educator named new principal at Centennial

CHAMPAIGN – Ronald Bode of Lake Villa will be the new principal at Centennial High School.

At a special meeting Monday at Central High School, school board members said Bode will replace Judy Wiegand as principal July 1. Wiegand was earlier named director of secondary curriculum for the district.

Community agency gets $770,600

DANVILLE – The East Central Illinois Community Action Agency plans to help returning veterans with this year's Educational Talent Search grant.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, announced Monday that the nonprofit organization was awarded the grant, from the U.S. Department of Education, that totals $770,600 over the next four years. This will be the fourth time it has gotten the grant.

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